15 Medical Facts You Should Know

Posted Jun 06, by Val Liarikos

For some reason, in 1943, West Virginian coal miner Emilio Franco lost his ability to speak. He remained mute, and doctors could not find any medical reason for his lack of speech. It turns out that all Franco needed was a ride on a roller coaster.

In 1949, six years after his initial silence, Franco rode the Coney Island Cyclone coaster with his cousin. The coaster was incredibly popular. It featured an 85 ft drop and was advertised as "The Most Fearsome Coaster Ever Built." With frequent riders, it paid off it's $100,000 cost in just one year. When Franco stumbled off the ride, his first words in years were "I feel sick."


A medical mystery is occurring in Ecuador. 100 unique individuals reside in a small mountainside village in the southern part of the country, and all have something in common – a rare genetic disorder called Laron Syndrome, a type of dwarfism where the height of the person averages out to 1.2 meters (or just about 4 feet).

These 100 people make up 1/3 of the entire population in the village. It’s a mystery as to why so many in one particular village are all affected with the disorder, but that’s not the only thing peculiar about them.

Virtually none of the people with Laron Syndrome have diabetes or cancer. It appears that the same genetic mutation that causes the unusually small stature also provides immunity from two extremely common diseases that continue to plague mankind.

Since 1988 there haven’t been any cases of diabetes and only one case of non-lethal cancer on record. Scientists are studying whether this link can somehow be used to produce drugs that slow the growth rate of cancer.


So obviously, quite a bit happened in those 5 years in between. But let’s actually back up a little from 2007. Derek Derenalagi joined the British Army in 1999. He fought for about 8 years until, in 2007, his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

He was almost immediately pronounced dead, but while preparing his body bag, medical staff found that he still had a pulse.

He remained in a coma for 9 days before waking up in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham. As a result of his injury, both his legs had to be amputated. After the incident, he decided to take part in the Ministry of Defense’s “Battle Back” program.

This program is dedicated to physically and emotionally rehabilitating wounded soldiers through atheletics. He eventually mastered the art of discus throwing and went on the compete in the 2012 Paralympics.


We've all seen that medical show. Something goes wrong and suddenly the patient isn't breathing any more or their heart isn't beating or both. The doctor springs into action and begins to administer CPR. After a few tense moments, the patient starts breathing again. Their heart returns to a normal rhythm. Unfortunately, real life isn't quite as simple.

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. If done right, CPR can break the patient's ribs, but may save their life. Given what we've seen on TV, we have a fairly skewed view of the success rate of this procedure though. According to a study, 75% of TV patients who have CPR performed on them survive and 67% of them go home.

However, in real life, in a 2010 study of over 95,000 patients, only 8% of those who received CPR lived for more than a month. Of those patients, only about 3% could live a normal life. Turns out that, just like about everything else we see on TV, we can't always trust how CPR is portrayed.


The bog bodies of Northern Europe are a large set of human cadavers that have been naturally mummified within the peat bogs found on the continent. They have a widespread chronology spanning from 9000BC to World War 2.

What’s really different about the bog bodies is that their skin and internal organs have been preserved extremely well due to the condition that they’re in: The water is highly acidic, temperature is low and there’s no oxygen. This combines to preserve, but tan their skin.

The other interesting thing, though is that the bog bodies’ bones are generally not preserved. The peat dissolved the calcium phosphate of the bone. If you want to learn more about these corpses, check out the source!


Pets are wonderful companions. They're furry and cuddly, and they (usually) love you unconditionally. They have their downsides though. You know this if you've ever tried to house train a puppy or had to clean out a litter box. And dogs love to chew your most expensive pair of shoes.

Sometimes cats don't even like to hang out with you and prefer to sleep in some hidden location. The worst downside of a cat or dog, though, may be that they can actually cause you physical harm. It turns out that dogs and cats are responsible for 86,000 fall-related emergency room visits every year.

That's about 240 pet-related ER visits each day. They somehow get underfoot, they wrap the leash around you on a walk, they pull you down in their haste to chase a squirrel. Dogs rather than cats are usually the ones responsible for these falls.

The falls were more prevalent among children and middle-age people, but elderly people that fall are more likely to break a bone and take longer to recover.

It's worth weighing the pros and cons when deciding whether to purchase a dog or cat.


Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness killing between five and ten percent. Half of these deaths are by suicide and the other half are by way of medical complications.

Recognizing and treating the illness are crucial to prevent death, otherwise the illness can send someone so far down a rabbit hole that they can’t get out and end up dying.

If you think it’s only women who suffer it, you’d be wrong. Twenty percent of anorexics are men, and the number is rising. Men who face the illness struggle with the same issues that women facing it have, but their struggle isn’t recognize, they are vastly unseen and untreated.

There is also the stigma attached to the disease, and many men therefore refuse to see a doctor for the illness. Some treatment centers refuse to treat men, because they feel women will feel trauma or pressure to look a certain way and revert back to anorexia before they are finished with recovery.


In 1809, Dr. Ephraim McDowell was summoned to Green County, Kentucky to see Jane Crawford, a woman who’d been diagnosed with a past term pregnancy. Dr. McDowell diagnosed Jane with an ovarian tumor.

At that time there was neither treatment nor surgery available to treat ovarian tumors. Jane begged Dr. McDowell to do surgery on her, because she didn’t want to die slowly and painfully. She rode by horseback 60 miles to his practice to have the surgery.

There was no antisepsis or anesthetic at that time in the medical practice. Dr. McDowell successfully removed the 22.5 pound tumor without any complications. It was the first to ever happen.

She recovered for 25 days and then returned home. She lived for another 32 years and it wasn’t until 1817 after two more successful ovarian surgeries that Dr. McDowell published information on his work. It was a major success and step forward in the medical community.


Brooke Greenberg should be celebrating her milestone 20th birthday this year. But, sadly, she won’t be able to participate in the festivities. Brooke suffers from a mysterious illness doctors have named “Syndrome X,” because there are only three known cases of it in the entire world. Basically, though her chronological age is 20, Brooke’s body looks like that of 5 year old child.

And, to complicate her condition, different parts of her body are aging at different rates. Her brain is similar to a newborn baby’s; her bones resemble a 10 year old child’s bones; and she still has her baby teeth. Brooke has had to endure a multitude of serious medical conditions during her life, including a stroke, brain tumors, and seizures.

Doctors are still trying to figure out why this is happening to Brooke, but at least some good can come out of her situation. According to one of her doctors, Syndrome X is providing unique opportunities for doctors to learn more about the process of aging.


Gynecomastia is the development of large mammary glands in human males, which results in breast enlargement. Aka: man boobs. The condition may occur in infants (who have received female hormones from their mothers) or at any time from adolescence onwards.

It usually occurs when testosterone levels drop, but estrogen levels remain the same. This happens when the body is not given proper nutrition, ages, etc. Like with females’ breasts, males’ breasts can be asymmetrical. When these breasts cause extreme distress, breast reduction surgery is recommended. However, in cases where gynecomastia is caused by poor nutrition, testosterone levels can be brought up to normal levels by improving one’s diet.


Known as locked-in syndrome or cerebromedullospinal disconnection, this rare condition leaves patients paralyzed but mentally aware and awake. In French, the condition is called “l’emmure vivant,” which literally translates to “walled-in alive disease.”

It can be caused by a number of different factors. These include a stroke at the basel artery, which feeds blood to the upper portion of the brainstem, traumatic brain injury, disease of the circulatory system, medication overdose or damage to the myelin sheath of the nerve cells.

Most patients that suffer from this condition cannot move even their facial muscles or make any sounds. Some can communicate by blinking. There is no standard cure or treatment, and it is unlikely that any motor function will return. It’s estimated that several thousand Americans each year suffer from this condition. Ninety percent of these patients die within the first four months of onset.


Dr. Edward Katskee was 34 when he intentionally overdosed of cocaine. He wrote down his reactions on the walls of his office to describe what a cocaine overdose felt like. Press at the time thought he intended to end the experiment before he died. There were signs that he wanted to commit suicide, but he wrote on the wall that he did not intend to kill himself.

The Doctor said that it was his way of contributing to the medical and scientific archives. At first his handwriting was firm and even, and then became a scrawl. He said his eyes were growing dimmer and his heart dimmer. After, his tongue became paralyzed and he noted a 'staggering gait' when he walked. His mind was so confused that his voice seemed ok, but no sound came out. The coroner pointed out that the Doctor was a known narcotic addict.


C-sections are used when natural childbirth is thought to be too risky. The woman is given anesthesia because of how enormous the C-section cut is and how painful it would be otherwise. Enter Ines Ramírez Perez: she is a peasant who lives in rural Mexico. With no medical training at all, she performed a C-section on herself and miraculously performed it successfully, keeping both her and her son alive.

In March of 2000, she had experienced 12 hours of continual pain. She then drank 3 small glasses of hard liquor and used a kitchen knife to open her abdomen. She made a 6.7in vertical incision to the right of her navel. For comparison, a standard C-section cut is 3.9 inches and horizontal below the navel.

She spent an hour operating herself and finally found her uterus. She took her baby boy out, cut the umbilical cord and passed out. She used clothes to bandage her uterus after regaining consciousness and sent for help. She needed some surgery because she damaged her intestines.

When asked why she did it, she said that she couldn't stand the pain and she decided if her baby was going to die, she was going to die too. However, she said she was certain God would save their lives.


It can literally be translated from Japanese as “death from overwork.” The major medical causes of karoshi deaths are heart attack and stroke due to stress. The first case of karoshi was reported in 1969 with the death from a stroke of a 29-year-old male worker in the shipping department of Japan’s largest newspaper company.

It was not until the late 1980’s when several high-ranking business executives who were still in their prime years suddenly died that the media took notice. In 1987, as public concern increased, the Japanese Ministry of Labor began to publish statistics on karoshi.


Witzelsucht is a rare neurological disorder in which people cannot control when they pun or what they say! The word comes from the German words “witzeln”, which means joke and “sucht”, which means addiction. It is characterized by symptoms such as telling inappropriate jokes and stories in social situations. The strangest part of the disorder is that while people can’t stop making jokes, they are completely immune to any humor either they or anyone around them says!

They also suffer from hypersexuality, which causes them to constantly make inappropriate sexual comments in awkward times or situations. What causes this? It is most commonly seen in people who have suffered damage to their frontal lobe, more specifically the right frontal lobe, or have a tumor in the area. The frontal lobe is chiefly in charge of controlling a persons reward, attention, short-term memory, and motivation.

If this area is damaged it could lead to being unaware of social norms, which would be understandable for this strange disorder!


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